Apple cider donut loaf cake is the perfect Fall dessert! This easy one-bowl recipe features a super moist apple cider cake with warm flavors and a donut-y texture; it’s just like an apple cider donut in cake form!

apple cider donut loaf sitting on a wire rack.

Apple cider donuts are a classic Fall dessert that inspired this apple cider donut loaf cake! Apple recipes – like my fresh apple cake or apple butter cookies are always my favorite to make during the Fall season. Like this apple cider cake, they are packed with fresh apple flavor!

Instead of using fresh apples, I used reduced apple cider for extra flavor and to keep it soft and moist. After baking, it gets rolled in crunchy cinnamon sugar; just like an apple cider donut!

For more fall recipes, try Plum Bars, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, and Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread.

Why We Love Apple Cider Donut Loaf Cake

  • You can make this minimal-effort Fall cake in one bowl (just like our cinnamon pumpkin bread and apple pie-filled cookies) and a loaf pan; no donut pan or special equipment is required!
  • Each slice is full of warm Fall flavors. It’s perfect for using fresh apple cider!
  • This apple cider donut loaf cake is great for any occasion. Serve it as a Fall-flavored snack, breakfast treat, or dessert.
  • Serve it as a fall-flavored snack, breakfast treat, or dessert at Thanksgiving with my pecan pie brownies.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

ingredients needed to make apple cider donut cake.

Apple cider: You can use homemade apple cider or store-bought apple cider. Before using it, make sure to reduce it by half as instructed in the recipe. Reducing it will boil off any extra water and make the flavor stronger.

Sour cream: This yields a super moist texture- I use it in my cinnamon muffins for this reason too! Substitute full-fat plain Greek yogurt if needed.

Brown sugar: Both light brown sugar and dark brown sugar can be used in this recipe.

Canola oil: I tested this apple cider donut cake with various oils and found that flavorless ones like canola or vegetable oil work best for this cake.

Find the full list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions in the recipe card below!

Recipe Instructions

Before you start, reduce the apple cider so it has time to cool. Then line an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.

STEP 1: Cream the oil and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, granulated sugar, and dark brown sugar until combined (image 1 below).

STEP 2: Mix in the wet ingredients. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream into the bowl until well combined (image 2 below).

STEP 3: Mix in the dry ingredients. Add half of the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the bowl and whisk until just combined (image 3 below). Then mix in the reduced apple cider.

Finish the batter by whisking in the other half of the dry ingredients until just combined.

a process collage of the steps for making the apple cider donut batter.

STEP 4: Bake the loaf. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan (image 4 above). Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.

Let the loaf pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then lift it out of the pan and let it continue cooling on the rack.

STEP 5: Cover with cinnamon sugar. Once completely cool, lightly brush the melted butter over the top and sides of the loaf and let it soak into the cake (image 5 below). Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar generously over the top and sides of the loaf until completely coated. Slice and enjoy!

brushing the top of the loaf cake with melted butter.

Professional Baking Tips

  • Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the “metric” button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.
  • Reduce the cider. The apple cider must be reduced by half before use. It’s very simple to do! Pour the cider into a pot and let it gently boil for 20-30 minutes until reduced in half.
  • Don’t overbake it. Baking the loaf for too long will make it dry and crumbly instead of soft and moist.
  • Baking times may vary. All ovens are different and your loaf may bake quicker or take longer than the indicated baking time. I recommend checking on it occasionally and testing for doneness!

Recipe FAQs

Why is my loaf super dry and crumbly?

Overbaking is the culprit if it’s dry and crumbly. To test for doneness, insert a long skewer or toothpick into the center. It should come out covered in moist crumbs!

My cake has a gummy texture, what went wrong?

Over-mixing the batter can cause the loaf to have a gummy texture once baked. Make sure to stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated!

Why do I have to reduce the cider?

Reducing the cider boils off extra water and gives the cider a more flavorful concentrated flavor.

How do I store apple cider donut loaf cake? Can it be frozen?

You can store the loaf at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 2-3 days. To freeze, cut it into slices then wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and store them in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 1 month. You can also wrap the entire loaf and freeze it that way as well.

a slice of the apple cider loaf with a bite taken out of it.

More Fall Recipe Ideas

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

apple cider donut loaf cake sprinkled with cinnamon sugar on a wire rack.

Apple Cider Donut Loaf Cake

5 from 25 votes
– by Cambrea Gordon

Apple cider donut loaf cake is the perfect Fall dessert! This easy one-bowl recipe features a super moist apple cider cake with warm flavors and a donut-y texture; it's just like an apple cider donut in cake form!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 slices

Equipment

Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, *see notes for measuring below*
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined. Set aside.
    2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp salt
  • In a small pot, add the apple cider. Bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. You will need it to reduce to 3/4 cups (165 grams)! Set it aside to cool to room temperature before using.
    1 ½ cups (350 g) apple cider
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line a 8.5×4.5 loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined.
    ½ cup (100 g) canola oil, ¾ cup (150 g) dark brown sugar, ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until combined.
    2 (110 g) large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, ½ cup (120 g) sour cream
  • Whisk in half of the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Whisk in the reduced apple cider until combined.
  • Whisk in the other half of the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out covered in a few moist crumbs.
  • Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then lift it out of the pan. Let it cool completely.
  • Once cool, lightly brush the top and sides of the loaf with the melted butter. Let it soak into the cake for 30-60 seconds.
    1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
  • Then mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Generously sprinkle the loaf with the sugar until completely coated.
    2 tbsp (30 g) granulated sugar, ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Slice and enjoy!

Notes

*Measure your flour properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Apple cider: You can use homemade or store-bought apple cider. Before using it, make sure to reduce it by half as instructed in the recipe. Reducing it will boil off any extra water and make the flavor stronger!
Reduce the cider. The apple cider must be reduced by half before use. It’s very simple to do! Pour the cider into a pot and let it gently boil for 20-30 minutes until reduced in half.
Don’t overbake it. Baking the loaf for too long will make it dry and crumbly instead of soft and moist.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. I made mini individual loaves for teacher treats for halloween, they turned out perfect! They were so delicious and a hit with the family!5 stars

  2. Delicious!! Made several loafs for family and coworkers. So much better than donuts. Very moist and the sugar on top was the cherry on top for everyone! Love having the metric measurements and US measurements available. Very easy to follow and double or triple. So appreciated!5 stars

  3. Holy flutes it is so much like a real cider donut. It’s incredible, and I don’ think I’ll ever make the donuts again now!5 stars

  4. I have a bottle of boiled cider from King Arthur, can that be used in place of reduced apple cider? Same volume? Thanks! Love your site!

    1. Great question! I just looked up their boiled cider recipe and it looks like it’s pretty thick and syrupy. I would use half of that and half regular apple cider if you can! I’m not sure the boiled cider alone will have enough moisture for the loaf. I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it! 🙂

  5. Oh my gosh, this loaf cake is HEAVENLY! The flavors are so perfectly combined. It just tastes like autumn!5 stars